“I believe that Veda to be the foundation of the Sanatan Dharma; I believe it to be the concealed divinity within Hinduism,—but a veil has to be drawn aside, a curtain has to be lifted. I believe it to be knowable and discoverable. I believe the future of India and the world to depend on its discovery and on its application, not to the renunciation of life, but to life in the world and among men.” — Sri Aurobindo (Essays Divine and Human, Vol. 12 [CWSA], P. 62).
AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society organized a Workshop and Demonstration on Vedic Chanting: Intangible Culture, Tradition and Continuity through online mode on 20th October, 2023.
Objective of this workshop was to focus on Vedic Chanting as Intangible Cultural Heritage and one of the world’s oldest surviving cultural traditions followed by an interactive session to understand and experience about Vedic chanting. The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Kishor Kumar Tripathy, Member Secretary, AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society. Highlighting the glorious history of the Vedas, he informed about the vision of Maharshi Aurobindo on the Vedas, including The Secret of the Veda, Hymns to the Mystic Fire and works on the Upanishads.
He mentioned that the Mantras were visualized by the sages and seers through deep meditation as the eternal spirit of the nature. Sri Aurobindo has also written ‘I seek not science, not religion, not Theosophy, but Veda—the truth about Brahman, not only about His essentiality, but about His manifestation, not a lamp on the way to the forest, but a light and a guide to joy and action in the world, the truth which is beyond opinion, the knowledge which all thought strives...’ Sri Aurobindo (Essays Divine and Human). Chanting of the mantras can be used to evoke different states of consciousness to harness the power of intentions and a deeper state of awareness. When we chant the mantras with utmost devotion, we realize powerful vibrations within the body and mind. This workshop aims to bring the participants in contact with many beautiful aspects of Vedic chanting including its different aspects in the light of Sri Aurobindo. Significant aspects of the Vedas, including history, origin of the Mantras, textual structure and interpretation of the Mantras followed by different methods etc. were also discussed during the workshop through an interactive manner.
Second part of the workshop was focussed on chanting of the Mantras. Textual peculiarities of the Vedas, i.e. phonetics, morphology, sentence formation and the system of Vedic interpretation followed by different methods were discussed. Specific demonstration was given to the participants to pronounce simple Vedic mantras from the Vedas and the Upanishads with Swaras (uddata, anudatta and svarita), Mudras (hand gestures), Chhandas (metre) and the associated gods and seers of the mantras. The participants practiced selected mantras from the Vedas and the Upanishads.